The Four Pillars of a Balanced Teacher

Balance your life as a teacher through a new CU Denver continuing professional education workshop series that will help you instill mindfulness-based self-care strategies into your work and life.

Our facilitator is Kristin McKeown. She is the founder of Teaching Balance, a company that helps educators integrate mindfulness, self-care and meditation into their daily lives. Throughout her 25 year career as a public educator, Kristin saw herself and her colleagues struggle to deal with the stress of teaching. She now focuses full-time on providing support for teachers, school counselors, mental health specialists, administrators, and school support staff with her writings, workshops, online meditation instruction and teachings.

Sessions may be attended as a series of three workshops or individually, as preferred. Each two-hour session will deeply explore one of the four pillars through content and mindfulness practices. The Four Pillars of a Balanced Teacher are self-awareness, self-compassion, self-advocacy and self-embodiment.

By the end of this series, you will:

  • Be familiar with the foundational elements of mindfulness
  • Have experienced multiple formal mindfulness practices
  • Be able to practice mindfulness independently and integrate it into their daily lives
  • Understand the value of mindfulness to have a rewarding and sustainable teaching career without sacrificing our health and happiness

Pillar One: Self-Awareness


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

4:30 - 6:30 p.m. + one hour follow-up meeting via Zoom

Location: CityCenter at CU Denver, 1250 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202

Price: $99

Self-awareness comes from your ability to notice and observe your internal experience (thoughts and emotions) in an objective and curious way. The more self-aware you are, the more adept you become at shifting from being “in” your thoughts and emotions to being the meta-cognitive observer of your internal experience.

We all know what it’s like to be plagued by ruminative thoughts like worries, regrets or self-criticism. Having a mindful self-awareness supports you in getting back into the “driver’s seat” of your mind, allowing you to focus your energy on what is most important and productive whether at school or at home. 

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Pillar Two: Self-Compassion


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

4:30 - 6:30 p.m. + one hour follow-up meeting via Zoom

Location: CityCenter at CU Denver, 1250 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202

Price: $99

Once we are more self-aware, we begin to realize how judgmental our internal dialogue can be. Self-compassion helps us interrupt the habit of negative self-talk, disempowers our inner critic, and helps us to be gentle with ourselves.

A combination of self-kindness and self-acceptance, self-compassion is not about self-indulgence or self-pity. When you are able to be compassionate to yourself, the precious energy you might have wasted mentally beating yourself up can be channeled more productively. This less judgmental habit of mind begins with ourselves and later is extended to our students, colleagues, friends and family.

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Pillar Three: Self-Advocacy


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

4:30 - 6:30 p.m. + one hour follow-up meeting via Zoom

Location: CityCenter at CU Denver, 1250 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202

Price: $99

Advocating for oneself includes setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. This supports us in prioritizing our self-care, which is not selfish. Self-advocacy is actually a selfless practice that benefits others.

When educators prioritizes their own self-care, they are doing so for the benefit of those whom they support, like their students, colleagues and family members. To quote Stephen Covey, “We must never be too busy to take time to sharpen the saw.” Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is an essential component of making teaching a sustainable vocation.






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Pillar Four: Self-Embodiment


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

4:30 - 6:30 p.m. + one hour follow-up meeting via Zoom

Location: CityCenter at CU Denver, 1250 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202

Price: $99

We each get only one body. The more in-tune we are with its signals and needs, the better able we are to care for it. Self-embodiment is an extension of self-care. It supports us in taking care of ourselves so we can continue to care for others.

Hard-working and driven professionals can be tempted to compromise their physical wellness in order to focus on what they’ve deemed “more important.” Healthy food, adequate sleep, and physical movement takes the back burner to supporting others and making a dent in our ever-expanding to-do list.

Ignoring our physical health and wellness at best prevents us from supporting others skillfully, and at worst can stop us from fulfilling our calling as caregivers altogether. Self-embodiment invites us to “drop in” to our bodies so we can feel more connected to our physical selves, which in turn grounds and stabilizes us in the present moment.

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